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Faultlines and earthquakes

There isn’t a perfect person on the planet.  Relationships are (partly) about being able to live with someone’s faults because they can split a relationship wide open.  Most people have a list of deal breakers which tend to come up pretty early in a relationship and those potential partners are generally discarded sooner rather than later.  More difficult to discern are the gray areas – issues that you don’t have a strong opinion on and that you’ll need to balance out against the whole of the person.

  1. Know what your true deal-breakers are.  Don’t even attempt to negotiate them – simply shake hands and walk away.
  2. Make a list of your own faults.  It may be a catalyst to work on them.  If nothing else it will remind you that you’re not perfect either.
  3. Make a list of his faults, include everything that bothers you.
  4. Is there anything on the list that is unreasonable?
  5. Prioritize the list from most troublesome to least troublesome.
  6. Apply the 80/20 rule to divide the list.  Check for accuracy.
  7. Slowly handle the top 20%, bringing it up at a quiet moment using non-blaming language and attempt to negotiate a solution you can live with.  Do not hit him with the entire list in a short space of time or he’ll feel as though he’s under attack.
  8. Look at the remaining 80% to determine if you can live with them without needing to negotiate them.  Happily, once you’ve decided that you can live with a fault, it tends to recede into the background becoming less and less important.
  9. If you feel that you need to negotiate too many things, he may not be the right person for you and you may need to walk away from the relationship to allow him to find someone who loves all of him.
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